Chinese Cantonese Yale Romanization System
Cantonese is a dialect of Chinese spoken in many southern parts of China, including the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau. Cantonese is a tonal language, meaning that words must be spoken at the right pitch to convey the correct meaning. Essentially, Cantonese uses 6 different tone 'structures' for the pronunciation of a word. There are three tones where the pitch does not vary. There are a further three tones where the pitch does vary. Although it is sometimes said that Cantonese has nine tones, the 'extra' three tones actually use the same pitch as the three unvarying tones described and do not use additional tone patterns.
The Yale romanization system was developed by Parker Huang and Gerald Kok for learners of Cantonese. The system uses a romanized word together with a marker to indicate the tone which must be used when the word is pronounced. It is widely used as the representation of Cantonese in course materials.
|Tone Description||Yale Example||Cantonese Example|
The Gong system supports the input, display and storage of the Cantonese Yale romanization system. This is particularly useful for Cantonese courses because this romanization system is not specifically supported by any software currently.
The Cantonese Yale romanization system as explained in the box on the right is a representation of Cantonese words by a combination of its romanized form and a tone marker. The Gong system attempts to simplify the process of inputting a Cantonese word by using a specially designed interface.
In the Gong system, there are seven tones that can be used for
a Cantonese word. These tones are represented as a button in the
user interface. When the user presses one of the buttons, the tone
will be automatically associated with the selected Cantonese word.
For example, the following steps are needed for the input of
the Cantonese word "
The above example is only one of the tones available in the system. Selecting different tones yields a different display of the Cantonese word. The table below shows the tones supported by the Gong system and their corresponding display.
Below is an example of a Cantonese conversation input as displayed in the Gong system. The conversation is extracted from course materials in the HKUST Language Center.